Shaping of Bangladesh’s Third Sector – Laws and Policies

Highlights from USAID’s Promoting Advocacy and Rights Activity


ICNL, working in partnership with Counterpart International under USAID’s Promoting Advocacy and Rights (PAR), hosted a dialogue on Shaping of Third Sector – Laws and Policies in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This event brought together government officials, policymakers, and civil society representatives to discuss recommendations to improve the legal and operational environment for CSOs, focusing on the Foreign Donations Regulation Act, 2018 (FDRA) and Digital Security Act, 2018 (DSA). These recommendations were detailed in a “keynote” paper and presented to Mr. Anisul Huq, Chief Guest of the event and the Honorable Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for Bangladesh.

Three people speaking at a conference about shaping of third sector - laws and policies.

Learn more about the issue and explore ICNL’s analyses on Asia & the Pacific program here.

PAR was launched in 2018 and conducted Civic Engagement Forums across Bangladesh and engaged with over 500 citizens to discuss and prioritize key democratic governance issues. A digital platform was launched in late 2019 to host important advocacy tools and impact stories. The platform serves as a resource to share information and build relationships among citizens, activists, and civil society organizations. The PAR program continues to focus on engagement, building problem-solving capabilities, and working with local government to promote transparency and accountability. This conference provided space for civil society representatives to reflect upon the impact of the FDRA and DSA on civil society organizations with the Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, remarking:

There is a tremendous kind of urge and need from the civil society organizations to demand of the government, particularly the Honorable Minister here today to consider that the provision of the FDRA law should be abolished.

Sharmin Khan, ICNL Legal Consultant, expressed appreciation to all the civil society partners for their advocacy on promoting civil society values. Medhawi Giri, USAID Bangladesh’s Acting Office Director, believes the changes being recommended will benefit civil society’s efforts in supporting citizens’ needs, curbing irregularities, and advancing development and democracy. Mr. Anisul Huq received the recommendations and pledged to work with the CSOs on the proposed amendments during the upcoming parliamentary session.

Watch highlights from the event on Counterpart International’s PAR YouTube channel here.